Alarm User Permit Information

Alarms have long been a means of preventing burglaries and other break-ins at homes and businesses. When the police are notified that an alarm has gone off, one or more police officers go to the home or business to assess the situation. A dispatcher also tries to contact the property owner to give them the option of going to the scene.

However, time spent trying to locate the property owner or responding to repeat false alarms (alarms in the absence of criminal activity) can divert police department resources from other serious needs. The City requires that all users of security alarm systems register their systems to enable the Police Department to more quickly contact property owners and to address false alarm problems. Recently, the Police Department contracted with CitySupport, LLC and now offers two easy and convenient registration methods for home owners and businesses to register their alarm systems. Alarm system users may register by mail or online at For more information or help with registration, call CitySupport at 888-865-9770.

For more information about the Alarm User Permit, contact Emily Graham at (510) 215-4410.

El Cerrito's Alarm Law

In March 2010, the City Council revised the Municipal Code (local laws) concerning alarms at the request of the Police Department. The ordinance requires alarm companies to notify the police when they sell or install an alarm in El Cerrito, prohibits certain types of alarm systems, and requires all new installations and upgrades to use industry-approved alarm control panels. These measures are aimed at providing better accountability by installers and vendors, which should lead to fewer mechanical or installation errors.

Resources for Alarm Users

The ordinance requires an "alarm user" (i.e. property owner, manager or resident) to obtain an alarm user permit which means they must file current information with the Police Department. With this information on file, officers should be able to quickly locate a property owner, manager, resident, or alarm company representative who can join the police in responding to the alarm call.

Even if you have had an alarm system for many years, you must register with the Police Department.

The ordinance added fees for permit renewal, fees to cover responses to false alarms, and a fine for a false alarm from an unpermitted alarm system. There is no fee for police response to alarms triggered by criminal activity. Alarm users will be charged a fee for the second and subsequent false alarms. See current rates for fees and fines.

The Police Department's response to alarms caused by criminal activity will not be affected in any way. The ordinance only addresses false alarms.